Hamilton woman turning 100 years old shares 5 secrets to a long life

Margaret Lewis, of Hamilton, will turn 100 years old on Dec. 17. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
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Margaret Lewis, of Hamilton, will turn 100 years old on Dec. 17. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Hamilton resident Margaret Lewis has lived in the deep south, Alaska and abroad in Europe. She has fond memories of being a successful radio, musical and newspaper talent. She was born when Woodrow Wilson was president and World War I was the talk of the day.

But Lewis, who turns 100 years old on Sunday, Dec. 17, has a razor sharp memory and zest for life that makes her seem half her age.

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“I really can’t talk about World War I because I was just born then,” Lewis exclaimed with a laugh. “But God has truly blessed my life with so much. I give God the glory. Every step of the way the hand of the Lord has been with me.”

The blessings that she is talking about revolve around family and a fascinating life that had her encounter movie and music stars, as well as, one of the biggest earthquakes ever recorded in Kodiak, Alaska.

Here are 5 things the centenarian shared as her life lessons:

1. Honor The Golden Rule

Lewis’ mother, Mary Hazelett Long, left her mark by teaching her children that although they grew up in the deep south, discrimination would not be tolerated in their household.

“Her basic rule in our home was that she better not catch us saying or doing anything to hurt anybody’s feelings,” Lewis said. “Mom would say ‘other people have feelings just like you do. We won’t discriminate.’ We never crossed that line.”

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2. Appreciate the arts

Lewis enjoyed a career in radio and television that allowed her to meet and perform with entertainer Andy Griffith, acclaimed musician Henry Mancini and country music legends the Statler Brothers, among many others.

“I enjoyed singing and playing the piano,” she said with a smile. “I also wrote jingles for radio and made for about an hour’s work what would amount to $200.”

Shakespeare also made her list of loves.

“I wish for everybody to be familiar with him and enjoy his work. Shakespeare, along with the scriptures (from the Bible) are the two most worthy reading materials in history,” she said.

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3. Embrace technology

Lewis enjoys playing Scrabble, but you won’t see this grandmother of four only pulling out the board game version.

“I love scrabble and play it online and in person,” she said.

Her son, John Lewis, 57, of Hamilton, added, “She plays it online at midnight sometimes with people across the country. She loves modern technology and has an iPad and is on Facebook.”

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4. There’s value in faith and an education

“Scripture and faith in God,” are two of the most important things to Lewis, whose husband, Lou, 92, was a chaplain in the Navy.

“He knows what he’s doing and he knows why he put you here,” she said.

“Also, school, because I firmly believe in education,” she said.

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5. Keep your sense of wonder

After undergoing a heart valve replacement two years ago, Lewis said she is looking forward to seeing what modern technology has in store next.

“I may not be here to see it, but I wonder what robots will be doing 25 to 30 years from now,” she said with a laugh.

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